The White House said late Dec. 1 that President Donald Trump will not be attending the first impeachment hearing scheduled by the House Judiciary Committee for Dec. 4.
In a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D–N.Y.), White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said that the terms of the impeachment process continue to be unacceptable and unfair to the president, citing conflicts with precedence.
“We cannot fairly be expected to participate in a hearing while the witnesses are yet to be named and while it remains unclear whether the Judiciary Committee will afford the President a fair process through additional hearings,” Cipollone wrote. “Under the current circumstances, we do not intend to participate in your Wednesday hearing.”
He accused Democrats of “purposely” scheduling the hearing to coincide with Trumps widely known appointment to attend the NATO leaders meeting in London from Dec. 3 to 4.
According to media reports, lawmakers on Dec. 4 will hear from a panel of academics on the history and constitutional basis of impeachment. Cipollone criticized the hearing for providing no transparency and no plan for fact witnesses of Trumps allegedly impeachable actions to be given the opportunity to testify.
Top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) has requested that Nadler provide Democrats and Republicans an equal number of academic witnesses to align with the procedures used during the impeachment inquiry of former President Bill Clinton.
He told Fox News on Dec. 1 that the upcoming hearing “is a failure of the Judiciary Committee to be able to talk to fact witnesses, to be able to talk to the people that have actually been a part of this, and actually have the president viably participate in his own defense—which hes not had the opportunity to do now.”
Jenna Ellis, senior legal advisor to the Trump 2020 campaign, said earlier in the day that given the circumstances, Nadlers terms provide only another “arbitrary hearing.”
“In a regular judicial proceeding where there is due process, the prosecutor and the judge are not the same person. That is what Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff are doing. They are the prosecutor, the judge, and the jury. That is not a separation of powers,” she told Fox News.
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